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How Did M&M’s Get Their Name?

Stephen Chernin, Getty Images

When I was a little boy growing up, my best friend was Merle Hardy. We were together everyday like we were glued together.

You would never see Mark or Merle without the other. It was common for adults to see us and say, ‘There’s the M&M’s.’

We started believing that the candy was named after us. But the real story of the colorful chocolates is a little different.

Forrest Mars, Sr., son of the founder of the Mars Company Frank C. Mars, invented the idea for the candy in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War when he saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate surrounding the inside, preventing the candies from melting.

After receiving a patent, production began in 1941 in a factory located at 285 Badger Avenue in Clinton Hill, Newark, New Jersey.

The two “M’s” represent the names of Forrest E. Mars Sr., the founder of Newark Company and Bruce Murrie, son of Hershey’s Chocolate president William F. R. Murrie.

The arrangement allowed the candies to be made with Hershey chocolate which had control of the rationed chocolate at the time.

Peanut M&M’s were introduced in 1954, but first appeared only in the color tan. When peanut M&M’s made their debut, so did the tagline ‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.’ In 1960, M&M’s added the yellow, red, and green colors.

Today they are sold in over 100 countries.

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